Press Conference: BEN HERMANS
How does it feel to have won?
It has been great. I didn’t have too much time to really enjoy it or let it sink it. This was my first day that I was relaxed and on my own, and I started to realise how big it was.
How important is it to have won a GC title?
I think this is only my fifth one. When I am in the leader’s jersey I have confidence because I have won overall already in the past. The first time you have a leader’s jersey you are unsure and you think about everything that can go wrong. Now it feels more comfortable.
What is it like racing in Norway?
The nature is different, for sure. As riders, the air feels clean too. I also have my best numbers there, so maybe there is more oxygen or I suffer less with my allergies. The roads have no road furniture, because there are no crossings, and so there is nowhere to crash.
You won on the same climb, Målselv, as you did in 2015. Did you remember it?
It was one of the best wins of my career, so of course I remembered it. Then you are a a little bit more motivated than at other races, and I gave a little bit more to win here again. It went pretty similar, but not completely the same. I was not sure what to do in the last kilometre with two guys on my wheel still. I made that decision to attack with 500m to go; it was just a really long drag to the line, and it was the right one. I was not sure I could keep them off, it was easy to come around.
What was it like defending the jersey on stage 4?
It was actually pretty comfortable, because there was a big break out in front and they could take all the bonus seconds on the way. I was surprised at the tactics of Wanty that they didn’t chase and didn’t put me under more pressure.
I think Eiking made the decision that he would attack on the final climb and get the four seconds he needed, but he could only get two, so luck was on my side a bit. Our team made the best tactical decisions for the whole race.